Interview with SMAndy about his forum game "Reapers Union"
Play by post games can be set in many different types of worlds, and can be based in existing worlds portrayed in films, TV programmes and books. SMAndy has created a play by post game based on Japanese Anime series “Bleach”. His play by post game is played using a proboards forum which you will find here. I asked SMAndy some questions about Reapers Union.
Could you explain what Reapers Union is all about?
Reapers Union based on an Anime called Bleach, in which there’s hundreds of Soul Reapers, and they fight souls who turn evil. Reapers Union is based in an entirely fictional world, the base of operations is essentially heaven. Soul Reapers are essentially dead people with special powers that revolve around swords fight to protect the less powerful normal souls. Souls that don’t go to heaven eventually get corrupted and become “hollow”. They become usually giant monsters with a lot of strength. This is the primary enemy of the Soul Reapers.
Reapers Union is played using a forum. But are there any disadvantages to this?
It’s played in a post-by-post forum setting, with one thread for the entire game. I’ve split it down into chapters, because Proboards(LINK:www.proboards.com) has a post limit per thread. I dislike one thread per location, as when you move to another location, you have to read up on what’s been going on. If it’s all in one place, you just read it all, and get an overall view of it. Especially if actions going on in one place effect somewhere else – like someone throwing a fireball that misses, but flies to another city instead. The whole thing can make a huge mess.
How much control do you allow your players to have over the story?
I like to give my players their own control. While they can’t forward the main plot without a GM’s say so, I do like to give them something to do while something else is going on. Like the big bad is fighting somewhere, but he brought some lowlife scum to help out. Most players can take out the lowlife scum, while story related people can go elsewhere.
It’s like I’m writing a story, where other people fill in the gaps. Might not be so fun for everyone, but it seems to be going well.
How do you go get people to join your game?
Reapers Union is currently advertised on TVTropes.com, which is where the majority of our players come from. While it’s currently going slowly, we have plenty of members there.
When you get people interested in joining, how do you filter out the time wasters?
That’s easy. Character Bio’s should be written with ones best ability. The more detail you can put in your bio, the more likely it is that you’ll put that same level of detail into your actual writing. If someone submits a bio with only one line for each section, then they’re not worth even reading. If you can even throw humour into the bio, then that adds a spark that not many can pull off.
Essentially, I read the bio as if it’s a post. If it holds my attention enough to finish it, then it’s a good bio. Bio, of course, being short for Biography, which is what a character profile should be like. Not an entire life story, but more than just cliff notes.
How long has Reapers Union been running?
We’ve just hit our third year! Seems to be working out at about a chapter per year. Yes, that means we’re on a low post count (average 120 posts per chapter), but its a story that everyone can be a part of, so it works out in the end.
Reapers Union is based on an existing TV series, do you think this helps you get new members?
Always. Fans of the series are more likely to take an active role in it – and they know the backstory of the series, so can easily mesh their ideas in with existing. The only other way to do it is to entirely create a new setting from scratch. That has the advantages that anyone can join in, but also has the disadvantage that you need
to flesh out everything in order for some people to post. There are quite a few people who won’t post something that hasn’t been mentioned before, as they don’t know if it will fit in with everything else.
Why did you think that this TV show would be good for turning into a play-by-post game?
It’s a show mostly about fighting, but there are also social scenes going on at the same time. It has a bit of everything, as there is an ongoing storyline which can be broken up into sections. This allows people to interact with other characters while at the same time fighting this weeks Big Bad. It’s also a show where everyones power level increases over time as they train and prepare for whats coming next. This means we can continue that trend, and increase our characters skills as time goes on. It leads to an evolving list of characters, and a world that continues where you left off.